In March 2001, a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Michigan, ruled that 20th Century Fox stole the script idea, "Jingle All the Way", from Detroit High School biology teacher, Brian Webster. The studio was ordered to pay nineteen million dollars, later reduced to one and a half million dollars. Webster submitted the script, then named "Could This Be Christmas?", to the studio in 1994, and never received payment nor credit despite the film making one hundred twenty-nine million dollars worldwide. 20th Century Fox appealed, and the verdict was reversed, since Webster's script was submitted after the studio had already purchased a treatment (summary or outline) of what would become this movie's script.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's agent suggested Sinbad, but the producers felt he was unsuited to the role of a villain, as it could harm his clean, family-oriented comedy act and reputation, although Sinbad felt the character would generate the audience's sympathy rather than hatred. Furthermore, he missed the audition due to his appearance with Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Crow on the USO tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Chris Columbus waited for him to return to allow him to audition and, although Sinbad felt he had "messed" it up, he was given the part.
The world premiere was held on November 16, 1996 at the Mall of America in Bloomington where parts of the film were shot. A day of events was held to celebrate the film's release and Arnold Schwarzenegger donated memorabilia from the film to the Mall's Planet Hollywood.
Despite the Turbo Man being a fictional product created for the movie, the toy that Myron references in the diner that he did not get as a child (and later said to be the most popular boys' toy aside from Turbo Man) is, in fact, a real toy. It is in real-life called the Johnny Seven OMA gun (OMA meaning "one man army"), as it performed seven different functions. The Johnny Seven OMA gun was produced by Deluxe Reading under their Topper Toys toyline, and released in 1964, where it became the best selling boys' toy of that year. The toy was marketed heavily on television, and the commercial went exactly as how Myron described it. The toy is no longer made, and has become a collector's item.
Although Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that the Minnesota locals were "well-behaved" and "cooperative", Director Brian Levant often found filming "impossible" due to the scale and noise of the crowds who came to watch production, especially in the Mall of America, but overall found the locals to be "respectful" and "lovely people".
As Arnold Schwarzenegger only signed on for the film in February and the film was shot so quickly, only six and a half months were available for merchandising, instead of the ideal year. As such, merchandising was limited to a thirteen and a half inch replica twenty-five dollar talking Turbo Man action figure and the west coast exclusive Turbo Man Time Racer vehicle, while no tie-in promotions could be secured. Despite this, several critics wrote that the film was only being made in order to sell the toy. Chris Columbus dismissed this notion, stating that with only roughly two hundred thousand Turbo Man toys being made, the merchandising was far less than the year's other releases, such as Space Jam (1996) and 101 Dalmatians (1996).
The scene outside of the toy store, where the crowd pushed into the entryway, was filmed in the 7th Street Plaza, outside the old Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. The scene changes to the inside of the store, which was filmed at the Mall Of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, almost twenty miles away.
The parade was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood, California on the New York Street set, due to safety concerns. The set was designed to resemble 2nd Avenue. The parade was shot from above by helicopters and stitched into matte shots of the real-life street. It took three weeks to film, with fifteen hundred extras being used in the scene, along with three custom-designed floats.
In the scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger ran out of gas on the highway, he pushed the SUV in neutral in front of the diner. This is reminiscent of Commando (1985), where he pushed his SUV in neutral to chase his daughters captors down the hill with "no brakes".
When Howard and Myron burst into the radio station, the D.J. is taking a call for the Eight Reindeer name contest. The incorrect names the contestant gives are: "Randy, Tito, and Jermaine". These are the names of three of Michael Jackson's brothers.
When Howard is in Jamie's room apologizing, in the background on Jamie's wall is a picture of The Incredible Hulk. In 1973, Arnold Schwarzenegger's friend and fellow body builder Lou Ferrigno starred in The Incredible Hulk (1978). They also appeared together in Pumping Iron (1977), and have played Hercules in separate movies.
In order for Howard and the mall Santa to enter the warehouse, the mall Santa has to use the password, "Jingle bells, Batman smells". Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared as himself in a photograph in Max Schrek's office in Batman Returns (1992), and he played Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997).
After Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is caught breaking into the neighbor's house, Ted (Phil Hartman) says, "You can't bench press your way out of this one." This is a reference to Schwarzenegger's earlier years, in which he was a professional bodybuilder.
At one point, Myron mentioned Jonny Quest when referring to well-known characters on television. Robert Patrick voiced one of the characters on Jonny Quest (1986) and played the T-1000 Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jake Lloyd have played slaves and cyborgs. Schwarzenegger played Conan in Conan the Barbarian (1982), in which he was enslaved as a boy. He also played the Terminator, a cyborg from the future, in The Terminator film franchise. Lloyd played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), in which Anakin was an enslaved boy who later becomes a Jedi, and ends up becoming the evil cyborg Sith Lord Darth Vader.
The film draws inspiration from the high demand for Christmas toys, such as the Cabbage Patch Kids and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which often led to intense searching and occasional violence amongst shoppers. Randy Kornfield wrote the film's original screenplay after witnessing his in-laws go to a Santa Monica toy store at dawn in order to get his son a Power Ranger. While admitting to missing the clamor for the Cabbage Patch Kids and Power Rangers, Producer Chris Columbus experienced a similar situation in 1995 when he attempted to obtain a Buzz Lightyear action figure from Toy Story (1995). As a result, he re-wrote Kornfield's script, which was accepted by 20th Century Fox.
At 19:40 on the Blu-ray, Sinbad can clearly be heard yelling "Shut up n****r!" to a black man in the crowd that is pointing and laughing at him. The subtitles on this same dialogue read : "Shut up man!"
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
When Howard, dressed up as Turbo Man, gives Jamie the limited edition Turbo Man doll at the parade, Jamie asks him how he knows his name and Howard replies by saying "You see, Jamie, I'm your father!" This is a nod to Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), in which Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that he is Anakin by saying, "No. I am your father!" Jake Lloyd, who played Jamie, played young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).